Baked Mushrooms with Miso Butter

Baked mushrooms are the ultimate low-lift creation. Here, mushrooms are tossed in a simple ponzu marinade, topped with cubes of butter and citrus slices, then baked into perfection in a hot oven.

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I’ve been lucky to live in the vicinity of some world-class mushroom growers for most of my life. Far West Funghi were a staple at the weekly Ferry Building Farmers’ market in San Francisco and Long Beach Mushrooms are a bright spot now that we are farther south. I’ve cooked a lot of mushrooms over the years and simple, baked mushrooms are an easy go-to for me. What you see here are mushrooms tossed in a simple ponzu marinade topped with little cubes of butter and citrus slices. Everything is covered and baked into succulent perfection in a hot oven. The sauce creates itself in the base of the dish. This is the type of preparation that is great whether you have regular button mushrooms or a fancy mix of exotic varietals. Promise.

Baked Mushrooms in a Casserole Dish

The Inspiration

Using soy sauce or ponzu as an anchor ingredient in a mushroom marinade is a fantastic combination. You see skewered soy-brushed mushrooms grilled as standard fare at many izakayas in Japan. I do variations on this at home a lot, switching variables up depending on what ingredients are on hand, and what cooking method is available. For example, the recipe today bakes the mushrooms in a hot oven, alternately, you might make a foil or parchment pocket and grill or bake that way. I tend to use ponzu sauce, and made a fresh batch of it recently. The citrus accent is key, and I like to use whatever citrus is coming out of the garden – in this case Rangpur lime. I’m equally happy using lemon, Meyer lemon, lime, slivered market lime leaves, or orange. Use whatever you have access to!

Baked Mushrooms with Rice and More on a Marble Table

Make it Vegan

I like the richness and flavor the little dabs of butter lend to the recipe as written, the miso in the marinade melds with the butter into a fantastic sauce as the mushrooms bake. That said, a generous drizzle of good olive oil before baking would work nearly as well.
Close-up photo of specialty mushrooms - oyster mushrooms, mother of pearl mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms and more

Baked Mushrooms: What Kind?

You have a lot of latitude here. The mushrooms you see pictured are beautiful cultivated types from a local mushroom grower including oyster mushrooms, mother of pearl, lion’s mane, pioppino, chestnut, and golden oyster mushrooms. I like doing versions with enoki and nameko as well. I also made a fantastic version earlier in the week with straight-ahead grocery store cremini mushrooms – absolutely perfect over a bowl of steaming hot rice. So, don’t sweat it if that is what is available. This is still going to be great. One pro-tip, I like to break (or cut) the mushrooms into slightly bigger than bite-sized pieces before tossing with the marinade. They will go on to collapse as they bake.Raw mushrooms before baking
Above you can see the raw mushrooms in the dish they will eventually bake in. Some of the larger mushrooms, the oyster mushrooms for example, are torn into smaller pieces.
Marinated mushrooms before baking in a baking dish
In this shot (above) you can see the mushrooms after they’ve been tossed in the ponzu marinade. They are topped with citrus and a bit of butter. At this point you will cover and bake for about 20 minutes.
Baked Mushrooms in a Casserole Dish
Here’s what the finished mushrooms look like less than a minute after removing from the oven. I like to sprinkle fresh herbs on them before serving, chives are top of that list. And if you want to get a bit decadent, a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche is magic.

This is so simple to through together, I hope you give it a try. And for the mushroom fans, here’s where you can have a look through all the mushroom recipes.

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Cottage Cheese Muffins

Golden, puffy cottage cheese muffins are high in protein, filling, and endlessly adaptable. If you love a savory baked situation, these are for you.

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I’m always on the lookout for cookbooks by Rose Elliot. They aren’t always easy to find, particularly if you are like me, living in the United States. For those of you who haven’t heard of her, Rose is an accomplished UK-based cookbook author who focuses on vegetarian recipes – three million copies of her books are in print (and probably many more now!). I loved the idea behind her golden, puffy, sun-dried tomato muffins which I came across in Vegetarian Supercook (2006). Not only does the cottage cheese and ground almond base make them a smart way to start the day, but you can adapt the accent flavorings based on whatever you fancy. 
Cottage Cheese Muffins in a Muffin Tin

Rose highlights the combination of tomatoes, cheese, and basil in her version of cottage cheese muffins. The ingredients come together to make your kitchen smell like a cozy pizzeria. In the years since I first highlighted this recipe I’ve baked a good number of variations beyond the original. You can see an herb-flecked version here. It’s loaded with fresh thyme, fresh oregano and lots of chives. I’ll include some other variation ideas down below.

Backing up a bit, one of the great things about Rose’s recipes (generally speaking) is that many of them strike a nice nutritional balance. They tend to combine proteins, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and good fats together in interesting (and delicious) ways. This is something that is actually harder to do than it sounds and I always appreciate her approach. You see that in a recipe like this one.Cottage Cheese Muffins on a Marble Counter

Cottage Cheese Muffins: The Ingredients

The ingredients called for here are fairly straight forward – eggs, cottage cheese, a bit of flour, some almond meal, etc. Plus whatever accent flavors you want to work in. I do have a couple preference I’ll share though.

  • Cottage Cheese: I tend to grab the low-fat option here. And, the larger the curd the better here. The large curds leave nice pockets of oozy cottage cheese throughout the crumb and I love it. The smaller curd cottage cheese works great as well, you’ll just be missing out on some of those magic spots.
  • Almond meal: You want to use a fine almond meal here. You can buy it, or grind your own in a blender. If purchasing, the skin-on almond meal option is fine, it’s just a bit darker and more rustic. I used the lighter almond meal for the muffins pictured here.

Muffin Batter in Tin Before Baking

Other Things To Know

I encourage you to give these muffins a try (they’re *really* good), but keep a few things in mind. The texture here isn’t attempting to emulate a traditional flour-based muffins. These are much moister, less bready, and more quiche-like.  Maybe a better way to think of them is like a souffle’s heartier, denser, more portable cousin. 
Muffins Cooling on a Counter After Baking
The muffins can be made gluten-free, use a GF flour or GF flour blend. If you make the muffins mini-sized they are perfect party fare, whether you go Rose’s sun-dried tomato route, the herb-fleck route (pictured) or I’m sure you can dream up countless other ways to flavor the cottage cheese and almond flour-based batter.
Side View of Muffin

Cottage Cheese Muffins: Variations

A few variations, and people have been mentioning other ideas in the comments.

  • chopped olives, lemon zest and chopped herbs
  • roasted, chopped mushrooms and fresh thyme
  • chopped chipotles and adobo sauce
  • roasted garlic, pesto and toasted pine nuts
  • sautéed chopped potatoes and rosemary
  • No nuts version: Amanda noted in the comments, “ I used half cup flax meal and half cup ground pumpkin seeds. They turned out great.”

Muffins Cooling after Baking

Let me know what you think of these, I really enjoyed them hot, as well as room temperature as a quick snack.
Here’s where you can browse more baking recipes.


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Gougères are perfect, golden pom-poms of cheese-crusted magic. This one-pan method sets you up for success every time. Even better – keep these little cheese puffs frozen, ready to bake, always.

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Gougères are my secret weapon this time of year. This means a bag in the freezer, always at the ready. I make the dough ahead of time (any afternoon I have a few extra minutes) then bake them straight from the freezer whenever I fancy. There is something irresistible about the way they explode in size. The way they bake into golden pom-poms of cheese-crusted magic. Like soufflés, I think there is a perception that they’re tricky to make. But, I promise, with a little practice (and know-how) you can have an impressive platter piled sky-high with puffery with next to no effort.
Gougeres piled high on a small plate

How To Make Gougères: The Basics

Gougères are a baked savory pastry made with a French choux dough mixed with cheese. They have a reputation as being difficult, but they’re really not. They’re more fun than anything. To make gougères you combine liquids (water, milk, beer, etc.), butter and salt in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. You add flour and stir madly into a smooth paste. After allowing the paste to cool a bit, you work in eggs – one at a time. Then add grated cheese and any other herbs, spices or other flavoring ingredients you’re inspired to try. Dollop onto baking sheets and bake! I’ll provide my go-to gougère recipe below, get comfortable with that and then have a blast making endless variations.
Gougeres piled high on a marble table

Can I make Gougères Without a Mixer?

Yes! And it’s my favorite way to do it. There are a number of approaches people take when making gougères. I opt for the path resulting in the best result and the least amount of dishes and devices to wash after. Meaning, I use a one-pan method, stirring by hand. I don’t bother with a mixer. And depending on the day, I will sometimes push dollops of the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets from a spoon rather than piping from a bag. I will say, piping delivers gougères with beautiful rise, more-so than dropping dollops with a spoon. But the former is still pretty impressive!

Mixing gougeres batter in a saucepan

This Gougères Recipe

This recipe calls for beer and milk as the liquids in the batter, but the direction you take the flavors is adaptable. I love the maltiness beer brings to the dough, set off by the bite of sharp cheddar cheese. Skip the super hoppy IPAs here. You might trade out the beer for water, tea, or other flavorful liquid. I like a bit of milk in the batter, as it helps the dough bake into that lovely golden-brown color. Also, don’t feel married to this combination of cheese and herb/spices, it’s a favorite, but I certainly vary each batch based on what is on hand. I’ll list some variations below.

Gougeres on a baking pan


Before I forget. See the little pointy bits on some of my gougères? They can happen after piping dough onto the sheet pan. To get rid of them simply use a finger to press the dough level just before baking. You can see the difference below. I left them on about half, and pressed them out of the other half.

Gougeres piled high on a small plate
Gougeres on a parchment lined baking sheet

Important Things to Know

There are a few important details you don’t want to learn the hard way when it comes to making gougères.

  • Eggs: First, be sure to use large eggs (not extra-large).
  • Get ready: Prep all your ingredients ahead of time.
  • Avoid under-baking: Let the gougères brown all the way, particularly up the sides, before pulling them from the oven. The resulting structure will prevent the tops caving.

Gougeres on a plate one with a bite taken out of it

Gougères Variations

I made this batch (pictured) with ale, a strong cheddar cheese, and one well-chopped serrano pepper. But the variations you can dream up are endless. Some ideas:

  • Fennel & Cheddar Gougères: Add a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds. It’s nice with the beer and cheese.
  • Mustard Sesame Gougères: Add a couple teaspoons of strong mustard and sprinkle the gougeres with sesame seeds prior to baking. A bit of fresh thyme is nice here as well.
  • Whole Grain Flour Gougères: Substitute in up to half the weight in flour with whole wheat flour or rye flour.
  • Spicy Lemon & Cayenne Gougères: Swap in goat cheese for the cheddar and stir in the zest of one lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne.

See what I mean? Just start playing around. You can also play with color. As I mention up above, you can replace some of the liquid in this recipe with fresh, strong juices. For example, carrot juice, turmeric water, beet juice, etc. Have fun experimenting! 

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Candied Walnuts

Caramelized and toasted, these crunchy candied walnuts use brown sugar and spices to deliver the perfect snack or topping.

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The best candied walnuts are oven-baked. Don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s worth knowing how to make them and there are many reasons to keep candied walnuts on hand. First off, buying them can be wildly expensive. Second, they’re infinitely snack-able. And, they have a knack for making salads, popcorn, crumbles and cheese plates extra special. Once you nail down a great base recipe and technique for candied walnuts you can tweak them a thousand different ways with different spices, herbs and flavors. Today we’re going to talk through all of this.

Candied Walnuts on a Sheetpan

What Makes Good Candied Walnuts?

This is subjective, of course, but I like candied walnuts with a thick, brown sugar bark. So much coating it becomes hard to see the definition in the curves and swirls of the walnuts. The optimal size of the walnut pieces is up for debate. The merit of perfectly candied whole walnut halves is hard to argue with. It’s my preferred size for salads, snacking and the like. But, candied chopped walnuts, in smaller pieces, make a wonderful topping for scoops of ice cream, mixing into popcorn, integrating into fruit crumble and crisp toppings or adding to granola. This round I stuck with halves.
Walnuts in a Bowl coasted with Brown Sugar Mixture

Baking Versus Skillet?

There are two common methods for making candied walnuts – in the oven or in a non-stick skillet. You will likely have success with either method, but let me tell you why I prefer baking the walnuts. Toasting walnuts in a skillet is always awkward. They’re craggy-shaped and where nuts touch the pan they either get too dark or the rest of the walnuts stay too light. It’s more challenging to know when your sugar is hot enough to set when using a skillet. It’s basically automatic in the oven, so you don’t sweat it as much. The oven envelops the walnuts in dry heat and you get much better toasting and browning. The dry heat of the oven also seems to strip the water from the egg whites while the sugar toasts resulting in crunchy snappy candied walnuts. Exactly what you want when they’ve cooled completely.
Candied Walnuts

Candied Walnuts: The Technique 

I’m going to call out a few important techniques and tricks here. This way you won’t breeze over them once you’re deep in the recipe.  

  • Coating the walnuts: You are going to get in there and stir these walnuts at TWO points, for minutes at a time. Once to initially coat the walnuts with the egg whites. And again once you stir in the brown sugar mixture. Really go for it. See photo below.
  • Separate the walnuts for baking: Try to separate the walnuts so they don’t bake into clumps on the baking sheets.
  • Avoid under-baking: Use all your senses to know when to pull the candied walnuts from the oven. I look for a few things. Things should smell toasty when you open the oven. The sugar coating should be nice and deeply golden at the edges, where the coating touches the pan. You need to bake long enough that the sugars bake and will be snappy once cooled.
  • Let the walnuts cool completely: Let the candied walnuts cool  for ten minutes or so before moving them around or taking them off the pan. It will be easier to break them up, the texture is best and they won’t burn your mouth.

Ingredients for Candied Walnuts


There are endless ways to switch things up here. How about…

  • Add some zest. Avoiding the white pith, use a vegetable peeler to strip the zest off a lemon, Meyer lemon, or orange. Cut into the narrowest slivers. Stir into the sugar mixture.
  • Experiment with seasonings and spice blends. My rule of thumb here is…if it is good in a cookie or pie, it will likely be good here. Think gingerbread spices, pumpkin pie spice, Bahārāt, quatre épices.
  • Try an alternate nut. Pecans are a great substitute. Or a mix of walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts. I also like to throw some sliced almonds (skins on) into the mix.
  • Crunchy Chewy Candied Walnuts: Add some dried or freeze dried fruit. You can use chopped figs or dates here. Or stir in chopped dried banana and/or pineapple before baking.
  • Rosemary Sesame Candied Walnuts: this is a version I used to make regularly. Add 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves, 1/4 cup sesame seeds and 1/3 cup chopped dates or dried figs to the brown sugar mixture.
  • Less Sweet: Scale back the brown sugar to 1/2 cup.
  • Spicy Candied Walnuts: Add a scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Keep the curry powder from the original recipe or leave it out.
  • Espresso Candied Walnuts: add 2 tablespoons finely ground espresso powder to the brown sugar. Skip curry powder.

Walnuts Coated with Sugar Mixture Before Baking

How To Serve Candied Walnuts

I’ve thrown out some ideas up above, but there are so many great ways to serve candied walnuts. Use them:

  • Always in salads. Use them in kale salad, apple salad, even this wedge salad as a finishing touch.
  • On their own or as part of a cheese platter or (these days) a butter board.
  • As a topping to add crunch to blended soups.
  • As a component in a yogurt or granola bar for brunch.
  • In baked goods. Work them into your favorite quick breads and batters. Imagine a favorite gingerbread or brownies dotted with candied walnuts!

Two Pans of Candied Walnuts Cooling

How to Store Candied Walnuts

You have some options here. But the first step is to let them cool absolutely completely. Then store in any air-tight container, like a mason jar, or re-usable baggy. Always reseal the container tightly after snacking. You can also freeze candied walnuts, in a tightly sealed container, for up to a few months.

Two Pans of Candied Walnuts Cooling

The recipe makes a one pound batch, so you’ll have plenty to share or just keep on hand. Here’s a photo of little baggies filled with candied walnuts accented with rosemary and lots of sesame seeds. So tasty. Enjoy!

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Limoncello Macaroons

These limoncello macaroon cookies are golden-crusted, powder-coated, almond-citrus gems spiked with limoncello liqueur.

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I packed a number of things for last weekend’s getaway to Mendocino. One pair of flip-flops, one book, a stack of magazines, a bottle of bubbles, ten rolls of film, three cameras, a tripod and a bag of limoncello macaroons. I bookmarked these Pinched Orange Macaroons a while back, and when my sister gave me a bottle of limoncello (made from lemons in her yard), I decided to do a twist on Patrick Lemble’s cookies using the homemade citrus liqueur and zest. I thought they’d be a nice little treat for the cabin.

Close-up of Limoncello Macaroons on Baking Sheet
The cookies are made primarily from almond paste and they bake into golden-crusted, powder-coated, almond-citrus gems. A tad messy to make, but well worth it. They’ve become one of my all-time favorite little cookies.

Perfect Place for Macaroon Treats - Cabin in Mendocino Woods

Before we dive into the minutiae of macaroon cookie making, I thought I’d share a few photos. For those of you who have missed previous mentions of the cabin, it is waaay off the grid, and a bit rustic – in the very best way possible. I like to sit on the porch and do a whole lot of nothing. We played board games and cards, cracked jokes, and talked a lot about the mountain lion that has been spotted at the cabin over the past few months.
Limoncello Macaroon Recipe

The mountain lion seemed like an abstract concept to me. Abstract in the way that I know there are bears around when I go camping, but I don’t really think about it much because they don’t bother me. There’s a difference here. This mountain lion has apparently killed a couple goats in the area. And then, there’s that photo up above. Lori & Lisa’s cousin rode down the driveway on his quad one afternoon to show us. He’d rigged a motion capture camera near his cabin, just up the road a bit, and apparently the camera captured that frame. It’s hard to tell from my picture, but I assure you, that cat is large.
Limoncello Macaroon Recipe
So, for the most part we stuck around the cabin. Or traveled in a pack when we were out and about. On the food front, Lori made an amazing grilled eggplant, arugula, and mozzarella salad as part of our dinner Saturday night, and if she posts it or publishes it at some point, I’ll be sure to link to it and give you all the heads up. Strong, garlicky, and good. She makes a mean panzanella as well.

Limoncello Macaroon Recipe

As far as the limoncello macaroons are concerned, let me say a few things. First off, they travel quite well. And while they seemed to be at their absolute peak roughly thirty minutes after baking, I placed the cooled cookies in a sealed plastic bag, and they were delicious for days. There wasn’t as much textural difference between the outside crust and the super-moist middle after being bagged, but they were still 90% as good. They’re perfect for a holiday cookie assortment.

Limoncello Macaroon Recipe
They’re also made from one of the simplest batters imaginable. I made one batch following Patrick’s original technique, then took a shortcut with the second batch which you’ll see reflected in my version of the recipe below. In short, I found I didn’t really need to do an egg wash/powder. I found the dough was quite moist. I threw a good amount of powdered sugar down on the counter top and shaped the cookies from there. They had a nice powdered sugar coating without the extra step. If you find you’re not getting enough of a powdered sugar coating before baking, give each ball of dough a light brushing of egg white and a quick roll in more powdered sugar.
Limoncello Macaroons on A Baking Sheet
If you’re still on the hunt for more treats, here’s where you can find all the cookie recipes. I’ll forever love classic shortbread cookies, I’d argue these are the best ginger cookies and please, please give these snickerdoodles a go. They’re kissed with saffron and vanilla, really something special.

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Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake

This is exactly what you want when you’re craving a homemade chocolate cake. The chocolate factor is deep and strong. The cake itself is rich, moist, and tender.

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What you see here is the Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake. The chocolate factor is deep and strong. The cake itself is rich, moist, and tender. It’s exactly what you want when you’re craving a homemade chocolate cake – an ace in that regard.

Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

I love a beautiful, frosted, homemade cake like no one else, but only bake them now-and-then. Because, cake. If it’s there, I want to eat it. All of it. More often than not, I throw together quick and easy loaf cakes (like this, this, and this) and call it a day. But a devil’s food cake like this one, moist with rich chocolate flavor, is special. And worth the extra effort!

Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil's Food Cake


I brought back a beautiful brass cake server from Simon Marks in Jaipur, and because my birthday was just around the corner, and because Claire Ptak’s Violet Bakery Cookbook was winking at me, I pulled my favorite mixing bowl from the shelf, and checked to see if I had enough buttermilk. The devil’s food cake was meant to be, I had all the ingredients on hand, and shy of the buttermilk, you probably do too.

Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

Devil’s Food Cake Finishing Touch

The frosting here is Claire’s Marshmallow Icing, also in the same beautiful book. It’s billowy, sweet, vanilla-flecked, and a compelling alternative to buttercream. You’ll want to put it on the cake, and everything else edible in your life. It’s a frosting that pairs beautifully with devil’s food cake. I also found myself dipping berries into it, and orange segments, and my fingers. The marshmallow icing reminded me a bit of Simon’s incredible cannoli filling at Caffé Palladio. So so so so good and a wonderful tie-in to my brass server! 

Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

More Chocolate Inspiration

Lastly, if you’re looking for other amazing chocolate recipes to try, this flourless chocolate cake is a favorite, and you can’t go wrong with these brownies.

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Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

From The Miller’s Daughter cookbook, these chocolate-flecked cookies are made with chickpea flour, tahini, and brown sugar for a brilliant twist on peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. The texture is crisp at the edges and soft-centered with oozy puddles of chocolate throughout.

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When a cookbook author uses a headnote to tell you to bookmark a page, I’ve learned to do it. That’s exactly how I found myself baking these brilliant Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies. Emma Zimmerman enthusiastically included the recipe in her new cookbook, The Miller’s Daughter: Unusual Flours & Heritage Grains: Stories and Recipes from Hayden Flour Mills. The cookies are made with chickpea flour, tahini, and brown sugar for a brilliant twist on peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. The texture is crisp at the edges and soft-centered with oozy puddles of chocolate throughout.
Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies on a Baking Sheet

The Miller’s Daughter

I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Emma’s new book before it was released. Emma and her father run Hayden Flour Mills on the outskirts of rural Phoenix, Arizona where they champion rare, near-extinct heritage flours and ancient grains. If you’ve only ever baked with all-purpose white flour, exploring the world of grains and flours like the ones Emma and her father grow and mill can be a complete game-changer. Creatively, it opens up a world of flavor and depth. Environmentally, growing these grains improves crop diversification and reduces mono crops. And, eating a diverse range of grains and pulses helps to keep your microbiome happy. So, big wins on many fronts.

The Miller’s Daughter cookbook has chapters on: White Sonora, Heritage Bread Wheat, Farro, Barley, Einkorn, Corn, Durum, Chickpeas, Oats, and Rye.
The Miller's Daughter Cookbook
We were heading east last month with the Airstream and my hope was that maybe we could visit Emma and the mill as we would be in the general vicinity of Phoenix. But the winds were SO BAD the whole time we were towing that we had to drive extra early in the mornings when the winds were calm and stayed parked as much as possible aside from that. It made “winging-it” with our schedule difficult. And although I didn’t get to congratulate Emma in person, she was kind enough to send me the book which arrived shortly after we got home. If you love baking and cooking with unusual flours, whole grains, and the like as much as I do, I suspect you’ll love this book. The story of how their mill came to be is an inspiration for anyone thinking about starting a passion-driven business in the food space. Also, Emma’s dress game is exceptionally strong.
Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies on a Marble Counter with Drinking Glass and White Plate

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies sit in the chickpea chapter, and rival some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had. They’re sophisticated on the flavor front, and when baked to golden-edged perfection, the texture is a journey in itself. You get a bit of snap at the edges once the cookies have cooled, and dense chewiness as you work toward the center of the cookie. If you love a good chocolate chip cookie, I have to second Emma’s sentiment and encourage you to give these a go.
Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies on a Parchment-lined Baking Sheet

A Couple Tips

  • Chocolate: Use a good dark chocolate chip here, or chunks. I used Guittard 63% extra dark chocolate baking chips, and they were just right. I don’t love “perfect” chips in my cookies, so I gave them a quick chop before folding into the batter. Bingo.
  • Freezing: These cookies freeze well. So, if you end up wanting to bake a bunch and save some for later just set them out on a counter to come back up to room temperature. They also bake beautifully from frozen dough, just tack on a few extra minutes to your baking time.
  • Size: Emma bakes these bite-sized, using 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie. After a few batches, I’ve landed on 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie as my preferred size for this recipe. It’s the size of my favorite cookie scoop, and gives me the texture I like in a cookie like this. Play around & experiment!

Cookie Ingredients Arranged on Counter

Links and Inspiration

If you’re looking for more inspiration and ideas of how to explore these amazing flours and grains, here are a few links to point you in the right direction.

Freshly Baked Cookies on a Plate

Please let me know if you make these! Or if you try any other recipes from Emma’s book. The next recipe I’m going to make is the Saffron Strawberry Galette with Messy Rye Crust, and then I plan to jump into a few of the savory recipes. If you’re looking for more after baking these, here’s where all the cookie recipes live. Happy baking!

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Easter Brunch Recipes Worth Making Year Round

I know many of you are on the hunt for good Easter brunch recipes right now. Here are a few favorites. I’m highlighting them here for Easter, but they’re all a part of my year-round repertoire if I’m being honest. For brunch I love family-style dishes like breakfast casseroles and frittatas equally as much as […]

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I know many of you are on the hunt for good Easter brunch recipes right now. Here are a few favorites. I’m highlighting them here for Easter, but they’re all a part of my year-round repertoire if I’m being honest. For brunch I love family-style dishes like breakfast casseroles and frittatas equally as much as a DIY set-up for things like waffles, omelettes, and pancakes. I mean, who doesn’t love a toppings bar? So you’ll see a mix of all this down below along with some favorite drinks and a handful of menu ideas. Have fun planning!

Easter Brunch Recipe Ideas

I tried to limit this list to long-time favorite recipes. Real go-to options instead of sharing a long list of recipes I like-ish. Be sure to browse the list of menu ideas down below if you need inspiration on that front!

Fregola Sarda
Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole: A top contender for Easter brunch. Breakfast casseroles are a thing for good reason. You can prep them the day before. They’re great for serving a crowd, and they’re endlessly adaptable. This is my take on the popular Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole. It’s a deep-dish merging of grated cheese, bagels, eggs, plant-based sausage along with the crunch and savoriness of everything bagel seasoning. The bagels that break through the top get beautifully crunchy and kissed with oven-toasted cheese. Give it a try!Fregola Sarda
Fregola Sarda: One of my favorite recipes from Near & Far. It’s the perfect lunchy, brunch dish, and it’s made with fregola. Fregola is a beautiful, tasty Sardinian pasta made from hard durum wheat flour – rolled, sun-dried, and toasted to a mix of shades of yellow, gold, and brown. The pasta is rustic and nutty, each grain with a raggy surface adept at catching flavor. So good!
Braided Onion Bread
Braided Onion Bread: Every Easter brunch spread welcomes a statement piece. This is one of my favorites. Made with a rich, buttery, yeast-based dough, each of the four strands in the braid is stuffed with a caramelized onion and grated cheese mixture. If you’ve never baked a braided loaf before, I’ll admit that stuffing the strands adds a layer of complexity, but the whole process is incredibly forgiving if you commit and keep going. Give it a try!
Frittata Recipe
A Tasty Frittata: I love a good frittata as part of a brunch spread. You can pre-bake them a bit ahead of time which opens up the oven for other dishes if needed. This is a tasty, super adaptable frittata recipe made with potatoes, onions, and eggs drizzled with a cilantro chile sauce. Don’t skimp on the sauce!
Waffle Recipe
The Best Waffles: You’re looking at the waffles I make for (literally) every family brunch, and they’re perfect for an Easter brunch gathering. You can set up a toppings bar, and let people make their own, or pre-make them and hold in a warm oven. If you’re a waffle fan, please give these a try. Everyone needs a solid waffle recipe in their back pocket, and I’m quite sure these are the end of the waffle conversation for me. Enjoy!
Red Fruit Salad
Red Fruit Salad: Red fruit salad, and arguably so much better than old-school fruit salad! It’s perfect as spring rounds the bend into summer. A simple, seasonal fruit salad made with plump strawberries, sweet cherries, lemon zest, and coriander brown sugar. Five ingredients. So good. If cherries aren’t quite in season where you are, go with 100% strawberries.
Pancake Recipe
Classic Pancakes: If you’re more of a pancake family, this is a classic pancake recipe that delivers a beautiful, classic stack with impossibly tender crumb and golden edges. It has been a favorite go-to since I first posted it in 2006. The pancakes have lightness and lift, and good color. The recipe is also endlessly adaptable based on what you have on hand.
Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread
Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread: This oatmeal bread wins the award for best toast. It’s a hearty oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection.
Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Cinnamon Rolls: If making these cinnamon rolls for Easter brunch, I’m going to make a suggestion. Swap out the cinnamon for citrus. Like, use the zest of a lemon or two in the filling and a tablespoon or so of lemon juice in the icing along with the heavy cream called for as the liquids in the icing.
Omelette Recipe
Skinny Omelettes: Setting up an omelette “station” with a range of toppings works great if you have a casual brunch situation. People can make and customize omelettes to their liking with fillings like caramelized onions, pesto, herbs, choice of cheeses, etc. These omelettes are made with eggs cooked crepe-thin and stuffed. A delicious and lighter alternative to heavy, cheese-stuffed omelette recipes – great for lunch and brunch.

What To Make with Extra Eggs

If you find yourself with extra cartons of eggs after Easter, here are some ideas.

Deviled Eggs Recipe
Deviled Eggs: I love these so much – beautiful and delicious deviled eggs made with an herb-flecked filling and topped with toasted almonds.
Egg Salad Sandwich
Egg Salad: My go-to egg salad, and what I turn to when craving an egg salad sandwich. This post talks you through all the little tweaks and tips that go into making the perfect egg salad sandwich. Served on garlic-rubbed toasted bread with chopped celery, onion, and whole-grain mustard.

Shredded Egg Salad
Shredded Egg Salad: A fun alternative to classic egg salad (above). This one is made by shredding hard-boiled eggs on a box grater. The resulting shredded egg salad is light, fluffy, and bright. Pictured here on avocado toast with scallions, pickled red onions, a pinch of curry powder and sesame seeds.

Easter Brunch Menu Ideas

Here are a few sample menus to start with. When I say toppings bar, I just mean putting out a range of different topping options. It’s a great way to let everyone make omelettes or waffles exactly the way they like it.

Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Strawberry Salad
Paloma Rosa

Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread
A Tasty Frittata or Skinny Omelettes with Toppings Bar
Iced Green Tea

Breakfast Bruschetta + Toppings Bar w/ Herb Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs
Pineapple Coconut Water

Waffles with Toppings Bar
A Tasty Frittata 
Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk

Easter Brunch Drink Ideas

Freshly squeezed juices, or homemade drinks are an easy way to make a brunch menu feel extra special. Here are a few favorites from past brunches.Fregola Sarda
Pineapple Coconut Water: A beautiful shade of Easter yellow, this beauty is always first to go at any brunch spread. Freshly juiced pineapple is at the heart of this quencher – made with coconut water, lime, and straight ginger juice. It’s invigorating, fragrant, hydrating, and that pure, intense shade of yellow that somehow tips us off to its strength and vitality before ever picking up the glass.
Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk
Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk: As good as it sounds. Ripe strawberries plus fresh almond milk were made for each other. And yes, you can use frozen berries!
Iced Green Tea
Iced Green Tea: As good as it sounds. Ripe strawberries plus fresh almond milk were made for each other. And yes, you can use frozen berries!

Paloma Rosa
Paloma Rosa: (recipe below) If a boozy brunch is in the cards, consider the Paloma Rosa. I’ll post the recipe down below. Palomas push all the buttons – bright, refreshing, tart, with a kiss of sweet and salty. So pretty, and they also couldn’t be simpler.


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Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole

If you’re looking for a great breakfast casserole, this has you covered. It’s a deep-dish merging of grated cheese, bagels, eggs, plant-based sausage and the crunch and savoriness of everything bagel seasoning.

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Breakfast casseroles are a thing for good reason. You can prep them the day before. They’re great for serving a crowd, and they’re endlessly adaptable. This is my take on the popular Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole. It’s a deep-dish merging of grated cheese, bagels, eggs, plant-based sausage along with the crunch and savoriness of everything bagel seasoning. The bagels that break through the top get beautifully crunchy and kissed with oven-toasted cheese.  Like many things in life, the details matter here and I’ve gone into some depth on the things to think about as you make your own brunch-time fave.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole Close-up

Make Ahead?

Absolutely! The great thing about a breakfast casserole like this one is you can completely prep it the night before. Wake and bake it in the morning. Or, you can bake it right away, after combining all the ingredients in the baking dish. You end up with slightly different textures, depending on your timing, but both are great. An overnight casserole results in a more custard-like texture. Just baked breakfast casserole surrounded by three plates

Stale Bagels vs. Fresh Bagels

My attitude here is to use what you have. Bagels that are a bit stale work brilliantly. Freshly baked bagels work great too. There’s a bit of a calculus if you’re hyper-specific about the texture you like. Bagels that are on the fresh side combined with the egg mixture the day prior to baking will yield a breakfast casserole with a more custard-like texture. Think French toast. On the other hand, if you use stale bagels and toss everything together just before baking you’ll end up with a casserole that has more definition and a slightly drier overall texture to the bread chunks. I love them both, but am a bit partial to the version pictured here – tossed just before baking, made with 3 day-old bagels.
Ingredients to make an Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole arranged on a marble counter

What Kind of Bagels Should I Use?

I’ve baked this casserole with a number of different bagels over the years. As far as supermarket-brand bagels go, the version I liked best was made with Dave’s Bread Epic Everything Bagels. I like to work whole grains in wherever I can, so that’s what I use here, but any good bagels will work.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole in the oven baking

Can I Substitute ____ Cheese in This Breakfast Casserole?

The short answer here is yes. A wide range of cheeses can work in this sort of thing. Basically you’re dealing with one grated cheese that you work into the egg mixture, and another cheese that functions more as a topping or punctuation. So, on the grated front if you prefer a strong cheddar or Swiss cheese, by all means make the swap. A lot of people use cream cheese for the “punctuation” cheese in this style breakfast casserole, because the theme here is…bagel. But the best version I’ve made was when I took some Boursin garlic and herb cheese from my dad’s refrigerator and used that instead. It ended up being creamy, oozy, herby magic where it hit the golden bagels on top. Feta works great too. Same goes for goat cheese. This is a long way of saying cream cheese is the standard here, but feel free to up your game by using something with a stronger flavor and personality.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole close-up with one portion gone

Breakfast Casserole Variations & Ideas

  • Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole: Sometimes I skip the plant-based sausage crumbles (processed plant-based meats aren’t typically my thing but they work well here), and throw in a few well-cooked hashed browns instead, Or you could do both. If you keep frozen hash browns, or frozen sweet potato hash browns on hand this is an easy add. Brown them up in a skillet and allow to cool (enough so they won’t cook the eggs instantly). When assembling the casserole I tend to add them to the baking pan and then pour the egg and bagel mixture on top of them. So you get some potato thickness and not just shredded potato bits.
  • Green It Up Version: Add a few handfuls of well-chopped kale or spices to the egg mixture. Or, if you have something like saag paneer left over, add that! Finish with lots of chopped green onions and chives. The onions can go on either before or after baking.
  • Pretzel Version: Whenever I make this I always think to myself that an old-fashioned soft pretzel version would be fun. You’d use a few of those big Bavarian-style soft pretzels in place of the bagels.
  • Buttermilk & Bagel Breakfast Casserole: I mention this down below, but I’ll emphasize here as well. I actually love to make this casserole with some buttermilk if I have it on hand. It works beautifully, especially along with the mustard accent. Just swap out about 1/2 cup of the milk called for and replace with buttermilk.
  • Leftover Breakfast Casserole:  You can smash leftover pieces of this casserole into a medium-hot skillet with a bit of oil to reheat. Parts get nice and toasty cheesy, and it’s super good. Smash casserole.

Top down view of Breakfast Casserole with spoon in baking dish
One last thing I want to call out here is that this recipe was written for a standard 9×13-inch baking pan, but don’t let that limit you. If you have a big enough skillet, that’ll work. What you see here is an enameled cast-iron pan I love. Use whatever big pan you like for this, just don’t fill let the eggs get higher than about 3/4 full. If you’re still a little nervous about over-flow just place a rimmed baking sheet below the casserole.. 
Top down view of Breakfast Casserole on marble table with spoon in baking dish

More Breakfast Ideas

I love a good breakfast, and if you’re in the same boat, take a browse through these breakfast ideas. If I had to call out some all-time favorites: This has been my go-to waffle recipe for years. Or these for classic pancake lovers out there. Fregola sarda is a top choice for brunch. I love a good frittata,  same goes for a good omelette. Lastly, I like to make my own breakfast cereal blend

If you’re just a casserole fan in general, please try this mushroom casserole I’ve loved since I was a kid. 

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Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread

This oatmeal bread wins the award for best toast. It’s a hearty oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection.

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A good oatmeal bread is one of my favorite bakery items. When living in San Francisco, I would make my way to the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market most Saturday mornings. One of the things I would pick up is a loaf of oatmeal bread from Marla Bakery. I started baking my own oatmeal breads after moving to Southern California a few years back and I thought I’d share my favorite today. It’s a hearty, oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection. There’s an argument to be made that a thick slab of this bread makes the best toast in the world.
Slices of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread with Butter

The Ingredients

Let’s talk through the ingredients in this oatmeal bread. 

  • Old-fashioned Oats: Skip the instant oats, you want a more substantial flake here. 
  • Active Dry Yeast: I use this type of yeast for my non-sourdough bread recipes because, quite honestly, it’s the easiest yeast to find in most stores here in California.
  • Buttermilk: Mentioned down below, buttermilk is my go-to liquid for this bread if I have it on hand. I love the flavor of buttermilk. That said, milk and water work wonderfully as well, just use whatever you’ve got. One thing to note, if you heat buttermilk too aggressively, or too hot, it might break and curdle. It’s not the end of the world, and you can simply proceed with the recipe once you’ve cooled to the desired temperature, but if you heat gently, this can be avoided.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Your olive oil doesn’t have to be special, it should just be good tasting. Whatever you use for sautéing. That said, for fun you might experiment with using a lemon olive oil, or basil or herbed oil for an alternative flavor profile and added dimension. 
  • Honey: This oatmeal bread uses a kiss of sweetness to round out the cheesy spiciness of the cheddar and pepper. My main advice here is that a good tasting runny honey is easiest to work with.
  • Unbleached All-purpose Flour: You have a ratio of one cup of oats to 3 cups of flour here. The amount of oats really delivers a wonderful element of whole-grain heartiness and flavor. I’d recommend giving the recipe a go as written. At that point, if you want to add some whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour you absolutely should! I recommend swapping in 1/2 cup or 1 cup to start, make note of how you think it turns out, and adapt your next loaf from there. 
  • Jalapeño peppers: I like to actually taste the peppers here and find that using two chunky mediums is just about perfect. You can tweak to your comfort level of course. Go ahead and leave the seeds and veins in the peppers.
    Loaf of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread on Counter

How to Make Oatmeal Bread

Proof the yeast. This is to be sure your yeast is working. If it isn’t your bread isn’t going to rise. If you have end up with an inactive packet of yeast, no big deal, simply start the proofing process over.
Ingredients to make Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread on Marble Counter
Make your bread dough. This is the step where you combine your proofed yeast liquid with the remaining ingredients. I use one large mixing bowl from the start of the bread making process to the finish. One thing to keep in mind, this dough it is a little tricky to read because of all the chunks. Keep kneading  until the space between cheese cubes is smooth-ish and elastic. Also, pro-tip – you can simply wipe your mixing bowl out in between steps and use it for the initial rise as well.
Oatmeal Bread Ingredients Combined in Bowl
Let the bread dough rise. This is the initial rise and the key here is making sure your bread is cozy. If my oven has been on, I place the bowl on top of it. Or find a sunny spot. My dad has a proofing oven, and that is a dream. You can approximate one by heating your oven on low for a few minutes, turning it off, and then placing your dough in there to rise.
Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread Dough Rising in a Covered Bowl
Shaping the loaf and the second rise. My main advice here is to continue to be nice to your bread dough. Gently handle. Gently press to deflate along the surface of the dough. Gently shape the dough, no ripping or pulling. Keep in mind you don’t want it pancake flat before shaping. I do a bit of a burrito roll to shape this dough – roll along the length tucking in the ends a bit. Place into the pan seam-side down.
Oatmeal Bread Dough in Metal Loaf Pan
Top with oats and bake. I like to top my breads with a little bit of whatever is inside (when appropriate). In this case the cheese cubes melt and ooze, crisp and color. They break through the surface on the top of the loaf, so I don’t feel compelled to add more. Green streaks of jalapeño are also visible, so we’re all good on that front. To add oats on top, brush the top of your oatmeal bread with a bit of well-beaten egg white, and then generously sprinkle with rolled oats before placing in the oven to bake.

Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread

How to Store

Oatmeal bread isn’t going to keep as long as, say, sourdough, but this cheddar version keeps nicely for 4-5 days. If you bake a version without the cheese it tends to get a bit dry after day 2. Toasting remedies this and extends the load another day or so beyond.

To Store: Once your oatmeal bread has cooled completely, store it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. The cheddar jalapeño oatmeal bread stays incredibly moist, the less decadent versions a bit less so. 

Oatmeal Bread Variations

  • Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread: Boost the percentage of whole grain flour. This is already a relatively hearty bread because of the amount of oats in the dough. You can make it even more hearty and wholesome by swapping out some of the all-purpose flour for a whole grain flour – start with 1 cup. Or take baby steps and start with 1/2 cup.
  • Saffron Honey Oatmeal Bread: You can take this loaf in an entirely different direction! Skip the cheese and jalapeño. Dilute a pinch of saffron in 2 teaspoons of almond extract and then stir this mixture into the 1 tablespoon of honey left after proofing. Combine some almond slices with the rolled oats added to the top of the loaf prior to baking.
  • Vegan / Dairy-free Oatmeal Bread: Skip the  cheese, use water instead of buttermilk or milk, and skip the egg wash topping prior to baking.

Slices of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread with Butter

My Favorite Ways to Enjoy this Bread

  • Keeping it simple: toasted with a smear of salted butter and sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
  • Had a slice with this carrot soup and simple salad for a perfect lunch.
  • Go the panini route, this bread loves to be toasted, use it in a panini TLT.
  • The cheddar jalapeño combo make this the perfect match for a breakfast sandwich – put an egg on it!

If you’re looking for more baking inspiration, here’s where all the baking recipes live. I love this beautiful braided onion bread, and if you’re a bit intimidated by yeast breads, you can never go wrong with a good one-bowl baking recipe

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